Bill Scharbrough R.P.T.
Stephen Scharbrough
Marlene Scharbrough

Home Before You Buy A Piano Where is the Piano Made?
Where is the Piano Made?

In the 300 years that people have been building pianos, many techniques have been developed to improve and enhance the performance and tone of this magnificent instrument. Trial and error, artist preference, practical application, and many other factors have been involve in making the piano what it is today.  Many innovations have been developed over the years that have been incorporated into the modern piano. 
You will find unanimous agreement that the world’s best pianos are the ones with superior designs, highest quality materials, and the most highly trained and experienced technicians to oversee the construction process.  These are truly the world-class instruments with finesse, power, vibrancy, spirit, and all the things that reach deep inside the player and the listener and connect with the very soul.  These are pianos at the height of magnificence and glory, pianos with that special fire that can move player and audience alike.
Every person would love to own a piano like that. The reality though, is, that these instruments are prohibitively expensive for the majority of piano buyers.  Only the very wealthy or very dedicated can afford to own a true artist quality piano.  Some buy these pianos as investments but soon find that they come to mean much more to them than just money spent.  Pianos become a cherished family possession to be enjoyed, shared, and appreciated.  Quality pianos rarely leave the family, being passed from generation to generation, becoming part of the family legacy and heritage.

Pianos can be loosely divided into four categories:  Artist, Professional, Hobby, Substandard

Disclaimer:  These are my opinions.  You will find others who will disagree with my placement of some pianos in this list. Keep in mind I no longer work for or are beholden to any dealer or piano company. I do not receive commissions or referral fees for recommending pianos to any dealer. With some technicians and teachers this is not always the case.  It is difficult to tell since most will not admit to receiving compensation


Artist quality piano are those that have the very best materials, craftsmanship, and design. Usually there is much greater attention to detail and individual attention to regulating and voicing to bring out the most in that individual instrument. The world’s best pianists need this kind of piano to bring out maximum performance.

Professional quality pianos are those that work well for institutional applications like churches, schools, clubs where a very good piano is required but the budget may also be a consideration. These pianos usually are built on an assembly line having very precise manufacturing procedures which produce pianos with great consistency, similarity of tone, and durability.  The quality of materials in these pianos is downgraded compared to artist quality pianos.  Tone, dynamic range, and performance capabilities will not be up to the standards of the artist pianos.

Hobby quality pianos make more compromises in materials and manufacturing.  These are not suitable for high use applications.  These pianos work well in most homes or places where the piano is not played lots of hours a day.  Tone, dynamic range, and performance capabilities are not up to the standards of performance pianos.

Substandard quality pianos are only good for a decorator piece.  They have no musical value.  These are for people that don’t play but want the “nuance” of a piano in their “trophy” house.

If one cannot afford an artist quality piano the question then becomes, how should one choose an instrument that will most closely approach the musical capabilities of those pianos.  As piano dealers we were faced with the same dilemma several years ago.  What were the criteria important to our choices?  Logic dictated companies with a reputation for commitment, outstanding quality, durability, good tone, good action response, and all things that musicians consider important. They must be a companies respected in the industry as leaders, companies with a proven track record of integrity, companies financially strong enough to weather the turbulent times piano manufacturers are encountering, and companies with a reputation for improving quality and innovation.

My opinion for artist quality pianos in no particular order:  
Steinway, Baldwin Artist Series, Shigeru Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Bechstein, Boesendorfer, Fazioli

Professional quality pianos in my opinion:
K. Kawai, Yamaha, Seiler, Schimmel, Charles Walter, Hailun

Hobby Pianos:
All Samick products, all Young Chang products, former Eastern European pianos like Petrof, Bohemia, Estonia, some Chinese pianos

Most Chinese pianos